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TN39.1003 - Procedure Writing.pdf

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TN39-1 Tech Note No. 39 Procedure Writing (Update - 10/03) TECH NOTE NO. 39 Reliable Solutions Today! PROCEDURE WRITING: IT TAKES A LITTLE TIME, BUT THE RESULTS ARE WORTH IT By Dan Dederer Enertech Solutions, Inc. Stouffville, Ontario, Canada EA SA E L E C T R IC AL APPA R A T U S S E R V I C E ASSOC I A T I O N WHY WRITE PROCEDURES Many companies operate without any written proce- dures, relying instead on informal “time-tested” instructions that are communicated through on-the-job exper
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  TN39-1 Tech Note No. 39 Procedure Writing (Update - 10/03)   TECH NOTE NO. 39 Reliable Solutions Today!  PROCEDURE WRITING: IT TAKES A LITTLE TIME,BUT THE RESULTS ARE WORTH IT By Dan DedererEnertech Solutions, Inc.Stouffville, Ontario, Canada EA SA       E     L      E    C     T    R    I  C A L  A P   P   A  R    A    T     U     S        S       E      R    V     I     C    E   A S S  O  C    I   A     T      I    O     N WHY WRITE PROCEDURES Many companies operate without any written proce-dures, relying instead on informal “time-tested” instructionsthat are communicated through on-the-job experience. Suchprocedures, however, often lead to variances in quality,completeness and effectiveness–from process to process,person to person, and shift to shift. They also may not be thebest procedures, and some of them may even be danger-ous.Of course, it takes time and effort to write good proce-dures, and the task may seem unimportant or evenoverwhelming–especially when your focus is getting pro-duction “out the door.” But the benefits can be enormous. Bydocumenting procedures, a company can objectively re-view the effectiveness of its processes and ask questions tosee if there are better ways to do things. Documentingprocedures also helps ensure consistency within the com-pany, making it easier to train and supervise employees.Best of all, it is not that difficult to do if you follow a few simpleguidelines. HOW TO WRITE PROCEDURES Writing procedures should be easy; don’t complicate it!Basically, procedures state:1.What is to be done.2.Why it is being done.3.How to do it.4.Who does it. GETTING STARTED Getting started is the hardest part for many people.Besides not having the time, they often don’t know where tobegin. Usually, it is best to gather and review any existinginformation about the task first. This might include instruc-tion manuals, technical bulletins, diagrams or those notestaped to the desk or the machine. This provides input aboutthe procedure and often helps identify the sequence.Next, sit down with the person who does the task (or whowill do the task if it is new) and write down the major stepsin bullet form. Then observe (and/or videotape) the taskbeing performed and identify any steps that have beenoverlooked.As an example, the procedure for receiving goods mightgo like this.1.Have the driver unload goods at receiving area.2.Count the boxes.3.Inspect the boxes for damage.ãIf the boxes are okay, sign the driver’s paperwork andget a copy of the bill of lading.ãIf damage is apparent, look inside the box.ãIf the goods are damaged, file a claim with the carrierfor damaged goods.4.Open the packing slip from the shipment and get a copyof the purchase order.5.Open each box and for each item in the box:ãCheck the item for damage.ãCheck it off the packing slip.ãCheck it off the purchase order.6.Check that all items on the packing slip are accountedfor.ãIf all items are checked off the packing slip, sign anddate the packing slip and purchase order, and forwardto purchasing.ãAsk purchasing to resolve any discrepancies in quan-tity, damage or other problems.7.Place acceptable items in correct inventory locations.Place any damaged goods in “hold” area until problemsare resolved.The task analysis is now nearly complete. What remainsis to verify that the written instructions accurately describewhat is actually occurring. This is when many companiesdiscover that what actually goes on is not what manage-ment thinks is happening. It is also a good opportunity to seeif needless steps are included or if there are better ways ofdoing something. Reviews like these help many companiesincrease efficiency and reduce operating costs.So far we have answered the “What?” and “How?”questions. To finalize the procedure, we need to addressthe “Why?” and “Who?” questions, along with some otherdetails. Putting the procedure in a standard format like thefollowing usually helps.Title:   To identify the procedure.Purpose:   Why we have written the procedure.Scope:   What the procedure does and does not cover.Responsibilities:   Who does what.Procedure:   What is to be done.References:   All documents used or referred to in the pro-cedure.Records:   Any records that are generated from theprocedure.  TN39-2 Tech Note No. 39 Procedure Writing (Update - 10/03) If the receiving procedure example were put in thisformat, it might look like this.Title: Receiving ProcedurePurposeTo ensure that received goods are:ãProcessed in a consistent manner.ãInspected for damage.ãMatched against items ordered.ãProcessed using proper paperwork.ScopeThis procedure applies to all items received by thecompany.ResponsibilitiesThe shipper/receiver is responsible for receiving all itemsshipped to the company and processing the paperwork.Purchasing is responsible for resolving any discrepanciesidentified by the shipper/receiver.ReferencesãBill of lading.ãPurchase order for shipment.ãPacking slip.Procedure1.Have driver unload shipment at receiving area.2.Count the boxes.3.Inspect boxes for damage.ãIf the boxes are OK, sign the driver’s paperwork andget a copy of the bill of lading.ãIf damage is apparent, look inside the box.ãIf the goods are damaged, file a claim with the carrierfor damaged goods.4.Open the packing slip from the shipment and get a copyof the purchase order.5.Open each box and for each item in the box:ãCheck the item for damage.ãCheck it off the packing slip.ãCheck it off the purchase order.6.Check that all items on the packing slip are accountedfor.ãIf all items are checked off the packing slip, sign anddate the packing slip and purchase order, and forwardto purchasing with bill of lading.ãIf there is a discrepancy in quantity, damage to prod-ucts or other problems, notify purchasing to resolve.7.Place acceptable items in correct inventory locations.Place any damaged goods in “hold” area until problemsare resolved. Records The bill of lading and the checked off packing slip andpurchase order are retained as records by purchasing. FLOWCHARTING Another useful method for procedure development isflowcharting. In flowcharting, a task is divided into its sub-tasks and arranged graphically in a logical sequence.Flowcharts make it easy to see the actual sequence ofevents for any process that a product or service follows.They can also reveal hidden complexities and help identifyways to improve the process.Each sub-task is usually easy to describe, making theprocedure a collection of sub-tasks. The flow diagramshould describe each point of the task, including how toperform it, who is responsible, and other relevant informa-tion. Flowcharting a process 1.Determine the scope of the process by clearly definingthe start and end of the task.2.Determine the level of detail needed to clearly under-stand the process and identify problem areas.3.Determine the steps in the process. List all major activi-ties, inputs, outputs and decisions from the beginning tothe end.4.Sequence the steps by arranging the subtasks in theorder they are carried out. Unless flowcharting a newprocess, sequence what is actually done, not what shouldbe done.5.Draw the flowchart using the appropriate symbols (seeFigure 1).6.Label each process step using words that everyone un-derstands.7.Test the flowchart for completeness, checking that allprocess steps are clearly identified. Make sure everyfeedback loop from decisions is closed.8.Validate the flowchart with the people who actually dothe job.Some procedures are best left as flowcharts. Do whatmakes the most sense and is easy to understand. To seehow flowcharting works, take another look at the procedurefor receiving goods (see Figure 2).Some people find that the graphical presentation of aflowchart is more effective than written procedures becauseit provides an overview of the entire process. Many organi-zations combine flowcharting and text in their procedures tobenefit from the simplicity of graphical representation andthe details that can be provided through text. CONTROLLED DOCUMENTS If the procedures will be part of a formal quality programsuch as ISO 9000 (or might be in the future), include thefollowing “housekeeping” items to provide effective docu-ment control within the quality system.1.Document number (a unique identifier such as Office Procedure 001 ).2.A revision indicator (e.g., Rev. A). NoDecisionProcessStartorEndYes FIGURE 1  TN39-3 Tech Note No. 39 Procedure Writing (Update - 10/03) 3.Page number (e.g., Page 1 of 3).4.Date of issue or revision.5.Prepared by or issued by (name and position).6.Approval (who approved it–name or signa-ture). PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER To see what the procedure for receiving goodsmight look like in a controlled format that includesa flowchart, see Figure 3 on Page 4. TIPS ON PROCEDURE WRITING ãKeep it short and simple. Don’t over-docu-ment.ãFlowchart a process. Make extensive use ofcharts and tables.ãUse a standardized format.ãKeep the audience in mind: ➞ Ensure that the meaning is clear. Havesomeone else read it and explain what issaid. ➞ Make the text grammatically correct withproper spelling and punctuation. ➞ Avoid jargon. ➞ Separate ideas into individual sentences orparagraphs. ➞ Ask the user to help write the documenta-tion.ãFor every task, identify: ➞ Who does it. ➞ Standards to be met or completion criteria. ➞ What resources are needed. ➞ What records are kept. ➞ What to do if it doesn’t work.ãPre-test procedures. Have those who will usethe the procedure try it and provide feedback,or have someone who is unfamiliar with thetask perform it using the procedures. FIGURE 2 No damageYesNo damageDamage Damage NoDamageNo damage Sign & date packing& picking slip; forwardto purchasing withbill of lading.Inspectboxes fordamage.Inspect each item fordamage.Allpacking slipitems accountedfor?Unload shipment.Count boxes.StartSign bill oflading andget copy.Check items offpacking slip &purchase order.File claim withcarrier.Place items ininventory locations.Place damagedgoods in hold area.Notifypurchasingto file claim.Notifypurchasingto resolve End Inspectgoodsin box. Receiving Procedure  TN39-4 Tech Note No. 39 Procedure Writing (Update - 10/03)   Copyright © 2003 Reliable Solutions Today!  Version 1101 DP32C-1003 Electrical Apparatus Service Association, Inc. 1331 Baur Boulevard ã St. Louis, MO 63132 U.S.A. ã (314) 993-2220 ã Fax (314) 993-1269 ã www.easa.com EA SA       E     L      E    C     T    R    I  C A L  A P   P   A  R    A    T     U     S        S       E      R    V     I     C    E   A S S  O  C    I   A     T      I    O     N PurposeTo ensure that received goods are:ãProcessed in a consistent manner.ãInspected for damage.ãMatched against items ordered.ãProcessed using proper paperwork. Scope This procedure applies to all items ordered by thecompany.ResponsibilitiesThe shipper/receiver is responsible for receiving allitems shipped to the company and processing thepaperwork. Purchasing is responsible for resolvingany discrepancies identified by the shipper/receiver.ReferencesãPurchase order for shipment.ãBill of lading.ãPacking list.Procedure1.Have driver unload shipment at receiving area.2.Count the boxes.3.Inspect the boxes for damage.ãIf the boxes are okay, sign the driver’s paper-work and get a copy of the bill of lading.ãIf damage is apparent, look inside the box.ãIf the goods are damaged, file a claim withthe carrier for damaged goods.4.Open the packing slips from the shipment andget a copy of the purchase order.5.Open each box and for each item in the box:ãCheck the item for damage.ãCheck it off the packing slip.ãCheck it off the purchase order.6.Check that all items on the packing slip areaccounted for.ãIf all items are checked off the packing slip,sign and date the packing slip and purchaseorder, and forward to purchasing with bill oflading.ãIf there is a discrepancy in quantity, damageto products or other problems notify purchas-ing to resolve.7.Place acceptable items in correct inventory locations. Placeany damaged goods into “hold” area until problems are re-solved. Motor Shop, Inc.Title:Receiving ProcedurePrepared by:Dave Smith, DirectorProcedure #MSI-039Rev. #0Approved by:John Doe, QA ManagerDate: April 1, 2001Page 1 of 1 FIGURE 3 No damageYesNo damageDamageDamageNoDamageNo damageSign & date packing& picking slip; forwardto purchasing withbill of lading.Inspectboxes fordamage.Inspect each item fordamage.Allpacking slipitems accountedfor?Unload shipment.Count boxes.StartSign bill oflading andget copy.Check items offpacking slip &purchase order.File claim withcarrier.Place items ininventory locations.Place damagedgoods in hold area.Notifypurchasingto file claim.Notifypurchasingto resolveEndInspectgoodsin box. RecordsThe checked off packing slip and purchase order are retained asrecords by purchasing. Note:This article was srcinally published in November 2001.
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